Friday, June 24, 2005

IN CONTEXT Billmon looks at Rove's comments and arrives at some important conclusions:
In retrospect, I think Rove's comments will be seen as both the GOP's opening shot in the 2006 congressional elections and the swan song for Bush's ill-fated Social Security "reform" campaign...

It's hard to see how Rove and the gang can expect to sit down and negotiate seriously with the Democrats over Social Security after launching what looks to be a sustained PR campaign denouncing them as traitors and/or terrorist dupes. My guess is that the decision to launch Operation Scapegoat was based, at least in part, on a hardheaded calculation by Rove (although maybe not the meathead he works for) that Social Security reform is effectively dead, leaving only the question of how to position the GOP for the inevitable fallout.

The Rovian strategy, it appears, is to try to label the Democrats as "obstructionists." It's pretty a weak line, given the complete lack of a popular groundswell of support for trashing the existing Social Security system, but it at least keeps the GOP on the offensive, which is where Rove always wants to be.

The Dems-as-traitors meme is simply an attempt to extend the same strategy to the disaster in Iraq. Obviously, the Rovians would like to focus the debate on "liberal" attempts to expose or question the administration's policies--such as the use of "practices tantamount to torture"--rather than on the abject failure of those policies...

It appears the next 16 months in American politics are going to be particularly ugly -- even by Rovian standards.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.